‘A hard tightrope’: Coronavirus makes life harder for people already socially isolated

Panic and anxiety are widespread these days among staff and clients at Sistering, thanks to the rapidly spreading novel coronavirus.

The multi-service agency supports women who were at-risk and socially isolated even before COVID-19, before governments began declaring states of emergency and people were encouraged to stay home and practice social distancing.

And yet amid the panic, Sistering’s executive director Shelley Nicholls says they’ve also seen the community around them rally to help.

“We’ve had a lot of folks asking us, ‘what do you need?’” (For the record, Sistering needs incontinence products, Tim Hortons gift cards, new underwear, new takeaway containers, and grocery gift cards.)

The offers for support are encouraging, Nicholls says, especially since some of the women Sistering supports — women who are racialized, transgender, refugees and immigrants, women with disabilities, no status, struggling with trauma, addiction, mental health and violence — are seeing empty grocery store shelves with no bread or toilet paper and “starting to struggle.”

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